Lesotho: Representation and inclusivity in political parties

See also Party capacity building  ·  Inter & intra-party conflict  ·  Poll watching

Activities aimed at inclusivity of women, youth, and people with disabilities in Lesotho form part of EISA's work to increace the capacity of political parties has been undertaken by EISA's Governance Institutions and Political Processes (GIPPS) department, under its political parties programme. The aim is to contribute to an open, inclusive and democratic political system, by strengthening this crucial set of stakeholders in the processes of democratic governance.


Enhancing equitable gender participation in through gender audits and action plans

26-28 Jun 2019

A methodology review meeting was held in Johannesburg from 26-28 June 2019 that included country partners and gender experts, as well as staff from EISA's Elections and Political Processes. Based on the nature of the work, as well as challenges experienced in Lesotho during the pilot phase, a decision was taken to drop Lesotho from the study at present. The decision was based on the ongoing internal instability, constant merging and breaking away within political parties in Lesotho, given the nature of the programme which aims to strengthen institutional structures.


Youth and people with disabilities

Following successful consultative meetings and workshops with political parties in 2018, GIPPs updated the 'Gender audit and action plans' to include other vulnerable groups - specifically youth and people with disabilities. This work entails amending the survey questionnaires for political parties as well as the related final report templates. During the reporting period, GIPPS included follow up activities and additional budgetary support under the ADS IV proposal under consideration by Sweden (through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Party leadership Gender audit workshops

Sep/Nov 2018

GIPPS held consultative meetings with parliamentary political parties, introducing the parties to the EISA/ODIHR methodology for conducting gender audits, developing action plans to strengthen intra-party democracy within the party and securing the parties' support for the project and participation in the pilot workshops.

Diversity Audit Workshop, Gaborone, 7 November 2018

Enhancing equitable gender participation in political parties through gender audits and action plans

The GIPPs team met with Corien Jonker from ODIHR to discuss the development of a concept and programme to enhance gender partition in political parties using a political party gender auditing tool developed by ODIHR combined with training materials developed by EISA. As a former MP from the Netherlands, Corien's insights on gender participation as well as assistance developing a useful network have been invaluable. GIPPs has started reaching out to political parties to participate in the two workshops/seminars planned per country.


Gender Sensitive Budgeting workshop held

19-20 Apr 2016

In preparation for a training workshops on "Understanding Gender and Gender budgeting" materials that promote an undersatanding of gender, understanding the different definitions and understanding of gender in different spheres of public life, as well as identifying the nature of the changing priorities amongst women as they progress through diferent stages of life were developed and published. In addition understanding budgets as an instrument of governance, budget analysis and budget prioritisation in favour of expenditure areas that have a high impact on women are explored.

Twenty eight Participants attended the workshop held in Maseru on the 19 and 29 April 2016. These included the All Basotho Congress (ABC - 5 participants), Democratic Congress (DC - 5 participants), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD - 3 participants), Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL - 4 participants), Lesotho Workers Party (LWP - 1 participants), Patriotic Front for Democracy (PFD) (2 - participants), Lesotho Peoples' Congress (LPC - 4 participants), Basotho National Party (BNP - 4 participants). 19 Participants were women, and 20 drawn from the age cohort below 35.


Youth Budgeting workshops conducted

8-10 Sep 2015

A second training workshop for Lesotho political parties on "Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgetting" was held from the 8 to 10 September 2015. The workshop had to be moved to Bloemfontein, South Africa, due to the prevalent political situation of tension, conflict and uncertainty in Lesotho following the killing of former army chief Maaparankoe Mahao, which sparked violent protests in Lesotho. With considerable risks attended to working with political parties, holding the workshop outside Lesotho, not only minimised disruption to the programme, but also allowed the space outside of a tension filled Lesotho, for the parties to engage with each other in a constructive dialogue on a multi-party basis, on both the content of the workshop and on broader topical political issues.

The parties that attended were: All Basotho Congress (ABC - 4 participants), Democratic Congress (DC- 4 participants), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD - 2 participants) and one participant each from the following parties: Marametlou Freedom Party, Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), Lesotho People's Congress (LPC) (one participant. Eight participants were women, and nine participants were below the age of 35.

Gender and Gender budgeting training materials developed

Apr - Jun 2015

In preparation for a training workshops on "Understanding Gender and Gender budgeting" EISA partnered with the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), who have a team of specialist researchers on budgets and pro poor budgeting strategies to develop training material. This partnership allowed for knowledge-sharing and exposure, and enabled EISA to develop materials that promote an understanding of gender, understanding the different definitions and understanding of gender in different spheres of public life, as well as identifying the nature of the changing priorities amongst women as they progress through different stages of life. In addition understanding budgets as an instrument of governance, budget analysis and budget prioritisation in favour of expenditure areas that have a high impact on women are explored.

Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting workshop comducted

26-28 May 2015

EISA's Political Parties Support Programme held a workshop on "Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgetting" in Maseru, Lesotho on 26-28 May 2015,. The workshop attracted 22 participants across six political parties represented in the Lesotho Parliament. There was a significant representation of women, particularly young women. The largest party in Lesotho, the the Democratic Congress (DC) attended the workshop. Other participants were drawn from, the Basotho National Party, The Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), the The Lesotho People's Congress (LPC), The Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) and the All Democratic Cooperation (ADC).

The ABC, who until recently was the party in Government did not attend this workshop in spite of confirming their participation. Moreover, other coalition government parties did not attend the workshop, in spite of one of them conforming participation. This mirrors the trend in the other two countries, where previous incumbents feel uneasy co-operating with their polituical opponents.

Positive feedback was given for the workshop with great interest expressed in the content and topics. Participants indicated that this was the first time they had interrogated issues of budgeting from a youth perspective.


Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting training materials developed

In 2014 EISA partnered with the NGO Youth Lab, and developed a comprehensive set of training materials titled "Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting" . Using this information workshops were to be conducted in partnership with Youth Lab.


The political parties programme created a platform for the often marginalised structures within parties, such as the women and youth leagues, to gain a better understanding of their own political parties and their affairs. More than two thirds of participants in workshops across the three countries in which the progamme was conducted were women. This is due to EISA's insistence to parties to ensure representation of women and youth as participants in all the workshops. It must be emphasised that the programme remains the only one of its kind in the countries in which it is implemented.

EISA, for the first time, trained parties in the mountain districts of Lesotho, namely, Mohale's Hoek, Mafeteng, Qacha's Nek, Quthing and Thaba-Tseka where participants were located in often inaccessible places. Most of the participants were people who usually do not get first hand information because of their location. The programme therefore succeeded in breaking the internal and external barriers to their learning. The five training workshops were in collaboration with the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN).


The Governance Institutions and Processes Department's Political Parties Unit successfully implemented to promote party development at strategic, organisational and structural levels by developing leadership through youth and women empowerment and by equipping party leaders with the skills to represent the interests of their constituents in an effective and democratic manner.

EISA conducted a training workshop for political parties in Maseru in October 2008 based on the Promoting Intraparty Democracy in Lesotho: Training manual. The training aimed at assisting parties in the prevention, management and resolution of conflict. The workshop was attended by senior party leaders from the 19 registered parties, the IEC and the UNDP.